Day two of CMJ turned out to be a free form day. A few weeks ago my friend Kathryn got us tickets to the new Karen O psycho rock opera at St. Ann’s Warehouse, Stop the Virgens, with me totally not realizing it was smack dab in the middle of CMJ. Whoopsies!
After the show, I decided to push it and headed over to Williamsburg to try to catch King Krule at Glasslands, but by the time I got there they were no longer letting badges in. As I was standing there, I heard someone call my name, and low-and-behold it was Scott Stereogum, who then invited to come into the ‘Gum showcase next door at 285 Kent.
Before heading in, Scott warned me that it was extremely hot indoors and sure enough, it was in fact a “hipster sauna” inside. So who were the kids all waiting to see? Strong Island (seriously???) buzz band, Twin Sister. Dreamy disco music, with a lead singer who looks like an Olsen, it’s not hard to understand why the room was 75% Sausage Fest.
But more on Stop the Virgens… A lot of folks have been asking me how the show was, and the one-line way I’ve come up with describing the experience is the following: “I’m not sure what I saw, but I’m pretty sure it was awesome.”
The performance is an “opera” in the sense that there is no talking — only singing throughout the entire show. The music is fantastic — and need I mention it’s backed by an incredible all-star band (Brian Chase and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Patrick Keeler and Jack “Little Jack” Lawrence of the Raconteurs/ Greenhornes, and Money Mark)? Amazing out of this world costumes by Christian Joy.
* SPOILER ALERT (Skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know anything about the show) *
From what I can surmise, Karen O is this kind of lost woman, who comes upon this world of nymphish “virgens.” The virgens are playful but mischievous, and sometimes cruel, and they taunt and tease Karen O’s character. Then eventually everyone dies, but then they are brought back to life by a ghostly/heavenly looking Karen O.
The show is so weird and crazy, but definitely a fantastic experience. Tonight is the last performance at St. Ann’s, so check it out if you can!